Why This Pop Song Is a Huge Win For LGBT Youth

August 26th 2015

Laura Donovan

Singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko has come a long way since her days as a Disney Channel original movie actress. Earlier this summer, the 24-year-old musician and performer released a powerful music video for her song "Girls Like Girls," which tells the sweet story of two female pals falling in love against all odds.

The video, which has received more than 9 million views and 272,134 likes from YouTube users, empowered the LGBT community and resonated with millions because of its depiction of a young couple exploring their sexuality and veering from the stereotypical "guy and girl" storyline that often drives pop music.

In the video, one of the girls has an aggressive boyfriend, and the girls ultimately kick him to the curb to be together. Kiyoko said earlier this year that she enjoyed creating a unique music video scenario in which a female leaves her fellow for another lady.

"I loved the idea of how all these guys always are stealing other guys’ girls and I was like, ‘There’s no female anthem for a girl stealing another guy's girl,' and that is the coolest thing ever,” she told Us Weekly in July. "['Girls Like Girls' has] become a universal video that brings out different kinds of emotions for different kinds of people."

The LGBT aspect of the music video.

The video touches on many issues that teens may encounter—including a disturbing image of partner violence, along with teen smoking and drinking.

However, it's the LGBT undertones that have people talking—in a good way. Some of the lyrics in "Girls Like Girls" include lines such as "Girls like girls like boys do, nothin' new, I've been crossing all the lines, all the lines, kissed your girl that made you cry, boys."

The music video follows Stefanie Scott, Kiyoko’s "Jem and the Holograms" costar/friend, and actress Kelsey Chow as their teen characters realize their love for each other extends beyond friendship. The clip opens with Scott's character looking sad as she rides a bike through a suburban neighborhood with cuts on her face. Viewers don't find out until the end of the video that Scott gets the cuts after Chow's boyfriend catches them kissing by the pool and physically assaults her in a rage.

Before the altercation takes place, viewers watch as Chow and Scott hang out as teenage friends do. They smoke together at Chow's house and Scott watches adoringly as Chow dances freely in an outdoor open space. They exchange knowing looks and long stares as they change into swimsuits before the pool party, where they finally lock lips. When the boyfriend assaults Scott, Chow jumps to her friend's defense and they both tackle him. The girls seemingly become an item, and the video concludes with Scott riding happily on her bike in the same suburban neighborhood from the first scene.

Earlier this summer, Kiyoko explained to After Ellen that she valued being able to focus on the actors by not appearing in the video herself.

“It was nice to not be in the video and just really focus on the actors and really focus on the honesty and the truth within the story,” she said. “And having that nice juxtaposition of a confident song, and having that song be the inner-monologue for Stefanie’s character, Coley, and what she wishes she could be or what her inner-confidence is.”

What people are saying about "Girls Like Girls"


Why the video was released at an historic time for the LGBT community

The music video debuted just two days before the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all fifty states this past June. This made Kiyoko elated.

"It’s a really exciting time right now for the LGBT community and the victory of America Friday ... so it’s a really great time," Kiyoko said during her interview with After Ellen. "It was a perfect timing and the best news I could receive, whether I’m releasing a video or not. It’s been a really great week."

During the same chat, Kiyoko explained that the reception to the video has been very positive and the LGBT folks who worked behind the scenes on it loved the message behind the production.

"We had a lot of LGBT crew members and I can’t speak for them personally, but I just know that they were really proud of the video and it was great to watch it being edited because I [was] really concerned and wanted to make sure people were connecting with it," she said. "Because I watched the video like three bajillion times every week, and the night before we released the music video and I was just like, 'I really hope people connect with it because I don’t connect with it right now. I’ve seen it so many times!'

"But all my friends who worked on it said, 'This is really was so honest and true,'" Kiyoko continued. "And the fight is really more symbolic with the fight and struggle with your peers and your self. You’re really battling yourself in the situation, and so somehow or another people have been able to connect with the video, whether they’ve gone through it or maybe they felt a certain way but didn’t actually go all the way."